Magazine article Newsweek

12 Steps to Independence

Magazine article Newsweek

12 Steps to Independence

Article excerpt

Your child's departure for college is a big step. But the journey from cradle to campus is filled with countless little steps--each an opportunity to prepare for letting go. Here, Karen Levin Coburn and Madge Lawrence Treeger, authors of "Letting Go: A Parents' Guide to Understanding the College Years," offer mantras for parents at every phase of the journey.

1 Take a deep breath. Give your child a chance to work things out. Even a crying infant eventually learns to fall asleep without being held.

2 Help your child learn to negotiate conflicts. Encouraging your toddler to use words rather than grab her shovel back from another child in the sandbox may be the first lesson in the art of conflict resolution.

3 Help your child learn to cope with disappointment. Empathize with your grade-school-age child when she isn't invited to a birthday party. Instead of trying to "fix it," help her to move on.

4 Support your child's interests and passions. You may have been hoping for a home filled with the sound of music, but your son is mad about metalsmithing. Praise your child for who he is becoming, not who you thought he would be.

5 Help your child learn to advocate for herself. The Little League dad who yells at the umpire for a bad call doesn't help the child learn to solve problems or gain confidence.

6 Encourage your child to dream big dreams and set achievable goals. Support your middle-schooler's dreams of running a marathon, but help her first achieve her 5K goal. …

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